tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 8, 2014 8:00am-9:01am EDT
testify at the trial of a former cia officer accused of leaking information on iran's nuclear program. in august, mr. risen spoke about freedom of the press at an event hosted by the institute for public accuracy. you'll also hear from former talk show host phil donahue, this is about an hour and 10 minutes. >> good afternoon. i'm myron belkheim, president of the national press club, i would like to welcome you on a day that is important to our -- where journalists are once again at the front line, courageously trying to cover news developments in the most difficult of circumstances. late last night, the national press club issued a statement expressing its deep concern about reports that at least two reporters from "the washington post" and t"the huffington post who were covering the unrest in
ferguson were man handled and detained by police officers there before being released. other reports backed up by video taken during the disturbances show that some television grews were hampered by authorities from doing their professional duties. this is all unacceptable. and we call for the police to let the journalists carry out their professional mission to report the news in an unfettered matter, otherwise it's a violation of the freedom of the press enshrined in the first amendment of our bill of rights. also unacceptable. very much unacceptable is the threat of prison to james risen. this morning a petition signed by more than 100,000 persons was delivered to the department of justice declaring, quote, we support james risen because we
support a free press, unquote. those petitioners, significantly include 20 pulitzer prize winners -- bungled cia operation in iran that appeared in his 2006 book state of war. we are pleased and honored that james risen who's still under threat of prison could be with us today. the national press club presented mr. risen its domestic freedom of the press award in 2012 for a career of reporting material the government would prefer to keep from public view, from warrantless surveillance to the botched program to give iran flawed nuclear weapons designs and he was also -- for getting them to reveal his confidential sources. i'm proud under the leadership
of john donnelly has continued to support mr. risen as well as today's petition. i would like to introduce norman soloman, co-founder of brooks action.org and executive director of the institute for public accuracy, is author of a dozen books on media and public policy and is a recipient of the annual ruben salazar journalism award as well as the george or well award. >> thank you. thanks. here we are in the -- and i think it's very fitting because it was 60 years ago that in perhaps his most well known and well remembered tv broadcast
edward r. morrow said we cannot defeat -- he said that at a time when it was essential for journalists to step forward to lance a boil of fear and intimidation that had gripped official washington for years, and the entire country as well. that was 1954. here we are in 2014. and the events today are part of, i think, a very strongly accelerating effort across this country to lance a boil of fear and intimidation. we don't talk anymore so much about a chilling effect, we talk about a freezing effect, we talk about ice cubes that congeal, we talk quite properly and accurately about an obama
administration that seems determined to gut the meaning of the first amendment. as the petition that we presented this morning to the department of justice spells out, it's really the functionality of the first amendment that matters. it's a brief petition that i would like to read the entire brief text to you. to president obama and attorney general holder. your effort to compel "new york times" reporter james risen to reveal his sources is an assault on freedom of the press, without confidentiality, journalism would be reduced to official stories, the situation antithetical to the first amendment. we urge you in the strongest terms to halt all legal action against mr. risen and to safe guard the freedom of journalists to maintain the confidentiality
of their sources. well, as myron mentioned and it was 14 on monday, statements released on that day by pulitzer prize winners, since then there have been six more who have approached us to add their individual statements, all of them are posted at roots action.org where people can also find a way to sign on to petition, which is ongoing and let me briefly emphasize that the names on the petition we dropped off and that are on screen, they're not just names, they're an activist network. we know how to reach them, we do reach them, we have everybody's e-mail addresses, and we're just getting started here. it's all about organizing at in point, in terms of mobilizing the kind of social understanding and a political pressure that's to be necessary to turn around what is truly a deteriorating, dreadful situation.
the many organizations involved are only part represented here and folks that we're going to hear from today are speaking for just one of the or a few of the many groups that are involved. and i want to emphasize really that we're embarked now on something that might be unprecedented, a collision between an administration that talks good and does bad, and a mobilized citizenry that increasingly understands what's at take. today really marks the culmination of one phase of that effort and the initiation of the next. so we're going to move ahead now with the news conference, another part of this effort to
lance that boil of fear and intimidation that's been doing so much damage to journalism and to democracy in our country. i would like to now introduce greg leslie. he is legal defense at the reporters committee for freedom of the press. he's been an attorney with reporters committee since 1994 and served as a legal defense director since 2000. he vfrzs the jounchism hot line services, he served a lot of positions, i'll just mention a couple. member of the american bar association's fair trail and free press task force and many other positions. before and during law school he worked as a journalist and research director for a washington business magazine and here he is, greg leslie.
>> well, thank you, and i'm happy to be here to support -- at the reporters committee, we have been actively involved in the case from the start and we have been working with the department on reform of its own guidelines regarding media subpoenas, and while that certainly can feel like a huge task, it nonetheless is critical to engage the government on these issues, even incremental progress is something, but -- must be addressed by enactment of a meaningful shield law that recognizes that reporters need to be independent of the judicial system. not because they're above the law, or because they want to avoid the burden of participating in the legal system. but because journalists need that independence to truly help hold the government accountable to the people.
the reporters committee was founded in 1970 over this very issue, the threats to reporters from subpoenas that led to the brandsberg b. hastes case and the need for a federal law. there were over 100 journalist shield bills -- after the valerie plame incident in which "new york times" reporter judith miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to disclose her confidential sources. it takes a while to get these things through congress. in 2007, the house overwhelmingly approved a shield bill. and when that didn't pass through the senate in 2009, a similar bill passed on a voice vote under a suspension of the rules, meaning it was so noncontroversial that a role call vote wasn't even needed.
the senate hasn't passed such a bill yet, but in 2009, the commission did send a bill to the floor and failed to win a place on the calendar as debate on something called obama care suddenly teak ov lly took over that kind of sidetracked things for a while. but the shield bill came under disclosure after a massive subpoena of the associated press's phone records to track down the leak about a cia operation in yemen and the revelation that the department of justice had successfully obtained a search warrant of a fox news reporter's g mail account by telling the court in order to get the search war rangt that he was involved in the crime, either as an aider, abetter, and or co-kcon conspiratornd quote, a reporter asking a government employee for
information was guilty of aiding, abetting, or conspiring within an espionage charge. so when the action against ap and fox news came to light, president obama ordered holder to review policies of subpoenas of journalist's work. while the media representatives involved in that process fought for provisions that would make such efforts more difficult for prosecutors and at least lead to greater notifications to journalists before their third party records were subpoenaed. we knew at the same time that of course the department of justice was saying that it fully intended to subpoena reporters in the future if they really needed the evidence to prosecute a leaker. the ap and fox news -- and a bill was approved by the senate judicial area committee last september, so almost a year ago now. although it still awaits senate
floor action. the house hasn't taken up the legislation at all yet this year and of course the current makeup of the house is not quite the same as it was in 2009, so we don't know what will happen there. but the fight over the right to keep journalist's sources confidential is really older than the public. a -- refused to disclose the authors of a tax against the colonial governor of new york in 1734 and thus was himself charged with libel. a century later in 1848, news of the treaty of guadalupe hidalgo ending the mexican-american war was first told of the still secret terms. nugent spent a month basically under house arrest in the capitol. 50 years after that in 1896, john morris a "baltimore sun"
reporter reported that a number of elected officials were taking payouts from gaming sources. the significance of this case is that this jailing prompted baltimore journalists to push for the then unheard of legislation that would protect them from having to reveal sources identities in court, a reporter's privilege, much like the spousal privilege or the doctor-patient privilege. the statute has been amended a few times but the state has never felt the need to resichbd the protection. we now see 38 states and the district of columbia enact such shield laws, it is those state shield laws that provide the real protections to journalists as right at the federal level is weaker than ever. thanks to the state efforts, we know that shield laus work, now more than ever it is time to
demand that congress pass a meaningful shield law. congress must act now and acknowledge that the government's accountability to the people comes primarily through independent watch dogs, including not just journalists but whistle blowers as well. one of the greatest things elected officials can do is limit their own powers. and congress can take that bold step now. thank you. >> next speaker is ahmed kapour, he's professor at uc hastings law where he directs the liberty and technology clinic, his case work includes constitutional usuals that result in espionage achkd counter terrorism prosecutions. ahmed was lead counsel in the first criminal case to challenge bulk metal data collection after the snowden disclosures and he
currently represents journalist barrett brown. formerly he taught at the university of texas school of law and he was a staff attorney at -- where he represents -- ahmed kapour. >> good afternoon. it's really an honor to be here today, not only because i admire mr. risen's journalism but because what brings us together transcends mr. risen, it transsends the freedom of the press foundation, it trans -- it brings us together today is is first amendment of the united states constitution and specifically the portion of that amendment guaranteeing the freedom of the press without persecution or unnecessary prosecution. it was thomas jefferson that once claimed that a democracy
cannot be both ignorant and free and the framers of the constitution said if that u.s. citizens take great care to share information completely among themselves they would be worse off than they had been as subjects of the british monarchy. in that sense the -- in order for a democratic form of government to function and continue to exist, the people must be informed. a simple mantra for a great nation and indeed the development of our free society is the result of the public debate and disclosure that journalists like james risen provide and the core of our free society is the press. and forgotten amidst a particular reporter's public persona is the crux of their profession, and that is news gathering. at the haefrt of our freedoms and the freedom to publish the news is the freedom to gather the news. and as justice sutherland wrote
in 1926, this country it is safe to say has shed achkd continues to shed more light on -- and since informed public opinion is the most potent of all restraints upon this government, the suppression or abridgement of the publicity afforded by a free press cannot be regarded other than wise without grave concern. so it is with grave concern that we gather today to confront a real threat to our nation's security. for who are we if we are not secure in our ability to hold the government accountable? now of course these freedoms are not without limitation, but to be clear, mr. risen broke no law gathering the news. he broke no law in proliferating the news and publishing his articles and books. nor can the justice department make such claims. indpeed there is no law that mandates a press to obtain government approval about lawfully acquired information. there is no dispute that such a
law would be unconstitutional on its face as a prior restraint of speech and would transform this great country from being a democracy to being a totalitarian state. yet mr. risen delayed publication for years out of an abundance of caution until it was clear to him that the government's desire to sensor him was not a matter of national security, rather it was a matter of national embarrassment. to be clear, the government does not seek to compel information from mr. risen to put an end to an existing threat to stop a terrorist attack or even an existing crime, an ongoing crime. the government seeks information ordered to investigate an alleged leak that occurred years ago by someone else. and quite frankly, i am puzzled as to why the doj needs to use mr. risen to make their case for them. you would think with all the resources expended on federal law enforcement, the fate of our nation would not rise and fall at the feet of a 59-year-old
reporter revealing his sources. and i'm sorry to give away your age. by initiating and executing investigations that monitor e-mails, phone calls and even credit reports of journalists, the government has made it clear that it does not fear the chilling effects to our free press and does not value the dogged investigative reporting that has contribute not only to our great democracy, but to the history of mankind. either way you look at it, mr. risen and indeed all journalists are faced with a choice, either to practice a form of journalism consistent with the first amendment and risk prison or potentially bankruptcy, or practice a form of journalism that the executive wants them to. to release of information that the executive permits them to and to tell people only those facts with the executive deems fit for public consumption. mr. risen as chosen the past
consistent with the first amendment and it's not likely that many will follow in his footsteps. in the end, it's the american people that have paid and will continue to pay the price. thank you. >> our next speaker is joycelyn raddick who's -- government accountability project which we also known as gap which is the nation's leading whistle blower organization, it focuses specifically on secrecy sky, surveillance, torture and discrimination. she's been defending against the government's unprecedented war on whistle blowers which of course has also hit journalists very hard. among her clients, she represents seven national security and intelligence community employees who have been investigated, charged or prosecuted under the espionage
act for allegedly mishanding classified information including edward snowden thomas drake and she served on the legal ethics committee and worked at the u.s. justice department for seven years, first as a trial attorney and later as a legal ethics advisors. josh lyn raddick. >> good afternoon. anyone who doubts that the war on whistle blowers is a backdoor war on journalists should study the case of jim risen. threats to reporters are the undercurrent in the obama administration's record setting espionage act prosecution of so-called leakers. one example where the press's implicated is when the justice
department subpoenaed associated reporters phone records impacting over 100 different journalists. in the case of another whistle blower, steven kim, the justice department got a search warrant on the reporter, jim rosen, by claiming that he was a, quote, co-conspirator, in the case of my client edward snowden, the administration has made noises about reporter glen greenawald being an aider and abetter. considering the obama administration's use of the espionage act to kill speech, it should be no surprise that threats against risen also come from an espionage act prosecution of another whistle blower, jeff sterling and ridse on's honorable commitment to protect a source on the disaster
government operation gone wrong. whistle blowers need the press. there are no safe and effective internal channels for most national security and intelligence whistle blowers. channels that do exist often turn whistle blowers into targets of retaliation and rarely correct the underlying wrong doing, especially when the wrong doing is perpetrated by senior levels of the u.s. government. the press, i would submit also needs whistle blowers. without whistle blowers, journalists would struggle to unpack government and corporate sin without differing perspectives or in many cases document temporary evidence. as a whistle blower attorney, there are a small but essential handful of reporters i feel
confident will accurately record information and protect their sources. jim risen is one of them. and if he is jailed, or forced to pay harsh daily fines, the pool of reporters who know whistle blowers are essential for accurate reporting will become even smaller. the threats to jim risen, are an attack on the entire first amendment. most prominently, the right to a free press, but also the right to speak and associate with whistle blowers and reporters. government surveillance of reporters, subpoenaing of reporters to testify geagainst their own sources and threatening them with contempt of court create a freezing atmosphere where neither whistle blowers nor reporters are safe to hold the government accountable and keep the public informed. committing journalism is not it a crime.
the notion that it is is a dangerous trend we should deprive of oxygen. it demands that the government withdraw the subpoena of reporter jim risen immediately. thank you. >> our next speaker court any ragg is a journalist, researcher achkd free expression advocate and speaks often on the media and technology and human rights with an emphasis on the middle east. she's leading the right to report in the digital age campaign aimed at ending surveillance and harassment of journalists. she was at unesco are she created the freedom of expression strategy in the arab
region. dr. ragg also previously managed the global freedom of expression campaign at freedom house. and she's also worked for al arabiya, courtney ragg. >> thank you. the committee to protect journalists is seriously concerned about the actions taken by the department of justice and the ongoing efforts to subpoena jim which could have an affect on the u.s. media and journalists if it has not indeed already has that impact. cpj was founded in 1981 by a group of u.s. correspondents who realized they could not ignore the plight of colleagues abro b whose reporting put them at risk on a daily basis. since then cpj has defended the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of repr e reprisal. last year we decided that the crackdown on leak investigations
and revelations about the extent of surveillance in a post-9/11 world necessitated us to look inward and weigh in on the repressed press freedom here in the united states. as a former colleague of jim's at the "new york times," i'm also personally happy to be here in solidarity with his efforts to protect his confidential sources and the integrity of the journalistic practice. the obama has reviewed eight cases of leakers under the es pea kblon naj act, that's less than the total number of such prosecutions than any other administration all combined and the subpoena requiring jim's testimony as part of the broader crackdown on leaks and whistle blowers as you have heard, a cpj report publiced last october concluded that the obama administration's -- revelations
about broad surveillance programs and moves to stem the routine disclosure of information to the press shows that the president has fallen far short of his campaign promise to head the most open government in u.s. history. several journalists interviewed for the report told cpj that leak investigations and surveillance revelations had made government sources fearful to talk about sensitive information and prosecutions such as those of jim have had a profoundly dellmental impact on the practice of journalism and as you have heard -- publicly speculating about bringing charges of espionage of journalists for doing their job serves to intimidate not only the individual journalist, but journalistsmore broadly. and has a serious chilling effect on the press. this is likely to be even stronger among journalists who do not have the backing and
protection of a major media organization with legal resources, charges about surveillance and hacking of journalists at media outlets is also problematic. and having read jim's affidavit explaining why he cannot testify and detailing the extent of government harassment and surveillance of his electronic communications, it is clear that if he is forced to testify, he would likely put to risk the confidenti confidentiality of his source. these prosecutions send a dangerous signal to governments elsewhere that would seek to use national security and anti-state charges as a cover for clamping down on journalists and press freedom. according to cpj research, nearly 60% of imprisoned journalists world wide are imprisoned on anti-state charges, such as subversion or terrorism. that is far higher than any other type of charge such as
defamation or insult, and it is a favorite of repressive regimes who see little value in a free press. furthermore, under mining the principle of source protection and the idea that journalists like doctors and others have the right to keep sources confidential have implications for the robust practice of journalism. indeed in 2012, the justice department argued that reporters privilege should not apply in national security cases and compared journalists to someone receiving drugs from a dealer. preventing journalists from being able to promise confidentiality to their sources undermines the key aspect of journalism that is essential to so many -- central to issues like national security and anity terrorism and are central to holding government accountable to the democratic process. the u.s. government's ongoing legal pursuit of jim sends a terrifying message to the 124
journalists jailed worldwide on anity state charges and attracts moral power abroad. i don't think that the united states wants to join cuba in becoming the only other country in the western hemisphere to have an imprisoned journalist. and that's what's at risk here. it is harder for the u.s. to be taken seriously when it advocates for press freedom and journalistic rights abroad when they are abridged at home. governments have many obligations, to enforce the law, to protect citizens, to preevent attacks, but they also have an obligation toup hold the skongs and to uphold democratic principles upon which this society is built and to ensure the functioning of the democratic process in which the press plays a central role. the committee to protect journalists calls on the united states department of justice to withdraw a subpoena seeking to force journalists james risen to
give testimony that would reveal a confidential source. >> our next speaker has worked as the director of the washington office for reporters without borders since 2011. she runs the u.s. activities for the organization and advocates for journalist, bloggers and media rights worldwide. acting as reporters without borders here in the u.s. she regularly appears in american and overskaes media and she lectures at colleges and universities at freedom of the press issues. and she's work it as an economic correspondent for a range of french media focusing mainly on macroeconomic issues.
delphine algon. >> thank you, norman, thank you for all the work that you did to assist this mobilization coming together and thank you for all of you for being here today. i will be short as a lot has already been said and i'm as looking forward as you are to hearing jim risen. so the united states is ranked in the -- the word press freedom index that reporters without borders has published every year since 2002 measure the level of freedom of information in 1180 countries, it reflects the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations and bloggers enjoy in each country.
one explanation for the united states to be ranked at the 46th position, the whistle blower is the enemy. eight alleged whistle blowers have been prosecuted under the espionage act, which is the highest number under any administration combined. there is no true freedom of information, no true freedom of the press without protection of journalist sources. leaks are the life blood of investigative journalists, given that nearly all information related to national security is classified in this country. it is then safe to say that this crackdown against whistle blowers is designed to restrict all but officially approved version of events. this outlines the need for
federal shield laws in the u.s. which will protect journalists at the -- supported by the obama administration. 2013 will remain the year of the associated press scandal, which came to light when the department of justice alleged that it has seized a news agency phone records. 2013, will be remembered as the year where whistle blower manning was condemned to 35 years in prison. 2013 will also be remembered for the revelation of edward snowden who exposed the nsa surveillance -- and know in 2014, will be remembered as the year when jim was test test deeply worried about t continues efforts taking by the
department of justice to force james risen to testify gps his confidential source, and reporters without border calls on the agency to -- reporters without borders is the largest press freedom organization in the world. we have almost 30 years of experience, thanks to us unique global network of 150 continues investigated in 130 countries, 12 national offices and a status at the u.n., reporters without borders is able to have a global impact by gathering and providing on the ground intelligence and defending and assisting news providers all around the world. and today we are here to defend james risen, to defend the first amendment, because freedom of the press is the most important freedom. this is the freedom that all of us to verify the existence of all other freedom. thank you.
>> i should mention that this news conference is being hosted by roots action.org and co-hosted by the institute for public accuracy. there are more than a dozen organizations which logos on the petition that's online and i hope you'll take a look at that constellation of groups and get in touch with them and again look at that petition at roots action.org. our next speaker pioneered the audience participation talk format on television as host of the donahue show for 29 years, fill donahue has 20 emmy awards, nine as host and another for the show as well as the peabody award as well as the president's award from the national women's media caucus and the person of the year award from the gay and lesbian alliance. he's done a lot over the decades
ground breaking interviews with world leaders and nudewsmakers. there's so much to say and i will be very brief. but i personally vividly remember as millions of people do, when in 1985 he introduced the space bridge telecast between the united states and the soviet union in the midst of the very cold part of the cold war and brought hid talks to russia for a week of television broadcasts, donahue was the first one to visit chernobyl after the accident there. phil co-directed the documentary, body of war, the very powerful journalistic cinematic focus on one young iraq war veteran left in a wheelchair by enemy fire and the
parallel process of match nations on capitol hill. phil donahue. >> thank you, norman and congratulations for assembling this very important event. i was a journalist, i was a journalist first for wabj in adrian, michigan, the proverbial 250 watt radio station. and i wondered what ever happened to wabj, so i googled, wabj and there it was, the washington association of black journalists. wabj is gone now, but it's a place where i learned a lot about journalism. i was 21 years old, i must have looked 12. i had a tape recorder with literally vacuum tubes. and i could stop the mayor in his tracks. i covered city hall, i covered my first murder.
i played ball with the cops, do i would cultivate my sources and i began to understand what a noble, noble pursuit journalism is. and now here i am at the press club with a lot of the people who are really, if they were all men, they would be the sons my mother wanted to have. >> i am very flattered to have norman ask me to make an introduction of james and i have monitored my talk show meter now, where he's saying, all right now, get off now, get off. but i asked the patients of the good people at the press club for this just one observation. every major metropolitan newspaper in this country supported the invasion of iraq. mcclatchey's warren stroebl and
jonathan landday are exceptions but many of their own papers didn't publish their work. they were saying, wait a minute. where's the evidence? wmd, where? this is what you get with corporate media. when i was a reporter in adrian, michigan, i didn't have to take a test. i just said i was a reporter. and i was. i didn't have to pea in a bottle. all you had to do was get out there. that's the way we want it. that way you have more people getting the news. that way it's more likely that somewhere in the collective middle of this large crowd will be found the truth. today that collective middle is occupied by five multinational companies, much more interested in the price of their stock than they are in funding investigative journalists, who by the way are not necessarily cost effective, as we know.
investigative journalism can lead you down a rabbit hole with nothing to publish when you finish. that's what makes what james risen has done all the more important. at a time when main stream media has a lot on its mind and a lot to be ashamed of. the president said during the iraq buildup, you can't take pictures of the coffin, and the whole media establishment said, okay. we aren't biting back. and if we ever needed to bite back, it's now, with the bill of rights being eroded, a fundamental values of our founders. we have no habeas, we have people in cages 15 years, no nothing, no phone calls, red cross, miranda schiranda don't
make me laugh. and the american people are standing mute. and how much bite and bark have we heard from our media as the bill of rights and the fundamentals of this nation are eroding before our very eyes. into this vifrenvironment comes james risen. we think we should put him on a pedestal and eric holder and apparently the president believes he should be put in jail. what's wrong with this picture? and it's for that reason that we assemble here today, hoping that the 20 pulitzer prize winners who have lent their names to this will be joined by thousands and thousands of other americans who agree that we have sent thousands and thousands of people to die for the privilege of a first amendment and the right of a free press and james risen is one of the people who
took advantage of that right, who doesn't want it to die, as we stand here mute as people in power don't want to be embarrassed and begin to listen on your phone and mine. now is the time for more of the kind of journalism that james risen is doing. and it's for that reason that i have this once in a lifetime opportunity to present to you a great american, a patriot, james risen. >> wow. i don't know if i can live up to that. i have to think about that for a minute. i just came here really today to thank everybody involved with this. i was not involved with this petition drive at all and anybody who knows me knows i
couldn't organize a one-car funeral. the fact that this has happened just leaves me speechless. the main thing that gets to me is i realize i don't deserve all this. but i also know that it's really not about me, it's about some basic issues that affect all journalists and all americans. you know, when the -- my daughtlawyers always tell me never to talk about my case, but there's a couple things i can say. one is that the jugs department and the obama administration are the ones who turned this really into a fundamental fight over press freedom in their appeal to the fourth circuit, they said that this case, the central
issue of this case was not some details or specifics or anything, but the fundamental thing that this case was about was that there was no such thing as a reporter's privilege. if you read the government's brief in the fourth circuit appeal, that's what they say. there is no such thing as a reporter's privilege. and so they turn this case into a showdown over the first amendment and over the freedom of the press in the united states. and so i am happy to carry on that fight, but it wasn't me who really started it. i think what, you know, this has been a long case, i got subpoenaed in 2008 first. but what i can say now is with all of these people showing
their support, i'm willing to keep fighting. because now i know that i have just an enormous group of people supporting me. and one of the things that i would like to say is that the real reason i'm doing this is for the future of journalism. my oldest son, tom, standing right there is a journalist and i want to make sure that the same protections that i have had in my career are therefore the future reporters in america because there is no way we could do our jobs if we don't have the ability to have aggressive investigative reporting in america and to have the ability to maintain confidential sources. there's just no way to conduct
aggressive investigative reporting without a reporter's privilege of some kind. without confidential sources. and i don't believe that you can have a democracy without aggressive investigative reporting and without freedom of the press. so i just wanted to come here beginning and say thank you to everyone. it's just really amazing. thanks. >> how does it affect your ability to do your job? >> i didn't really want to answer questions. it's obviously had an affect, but i'm trying to keep working. so i'm just trying to do what i can. thanks. >> we have a bit of time for q &
a and because this is being streamed live, i would like to ask people go to the mike there which is live. and if there are any questions, please keep them very brief, identify yourself and your news organization. and i think i see little bit of movement in this direction. are there any questions? the mic is over to my left. >> i'll ask one more question. elysea craigman. this is to james -- hey, we're here defending press freedom, right? or anybody else who is familiar with the case that can answer it. i know that attorney holder said that while he's in the position no reporter is quote going to jail for doing his job. can you speak to sort of the specifics of, you know, how the case is going to play out from now on? it's my understanding you have no other options to appeal, so timing et cetera whatever specifics you can share on that.
>> just a brief answer. i do a lot of criminal cases. mr. holder has said that on his watch no reporter will go to prison for doing his job. however, the alternate evil is actually just as bad or worse for the first amendment. and i'm talking to a room full of reporters. if i told you that doing your job is going to result in bankruptcy, would you continue doing your job? it's that simple. thank you. >> go ahead. >> sure. steven nelson from u.s. news. president obama just gave press statements less than an hour ago, i think, about the missouri protests. and he said that police there should not be bullying or
arresting reporters who are doing their jobs. and i would like the panel's opinion on, you know, whether you welcome this and whether you think that the president may maybe should take his own advice here for everyone. >> i would like to just say i wanted to express -- >> do you mind? >> one thing i meant to say is i wanted to express my support for the reporters who were arrested or detained in ferguson. and i think that with the central question that we're all facing now is how does first amendment and the freedom of the press survive in a post-9/11 age? it's all part of the same issue, i think. >> leeann dra bernstein. i would like to ask of someone on the panel -- i know that you mentioned the trend away from
democracy and towards an aauthoritarian form of government. other speakers brought up cases where the administration, whoever is sitting in the executive office basically gets to determine the narrative of truth and whoever brings up a counter narrative is either slandered, not published or other things happen. so, if you and perhaps somebody else on the panel could just address this trend also that it is happening more and more under president barack obama. bush was criticized so much from the left. now it's happening under liberal -- democrat as a president. so where is this trend going? >> go ahead. >> why don't you go first.